Workers who are older are often subjected to workplace age discrimination based on their ages. In a survey that was conducted by the AARP, more than 50 percent of people over the age of 50 reported that they had either been subjected to age discrimination or had witnessed it at work. At the same time, four people out of every five who are older than age 50 report that they will need to delay retirement and continue working. Companies look for ways to get rid of older workers so that they can try to avoid age discrimination claims. Here are 11 different sneaky ways that companies engage in age discrimination in the workplace.
A very common ploy that is used by companies in an attempt to get rid of older workers is claiming that their jobs are being eliminated. When your job is not really eliminated, and the company simply changes the title and then place someone who is younger in the position, you may have grounds to file an age discrimination claim. An employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler may be able to help you with filing your claim under the Age Discrimination Act.
When companies have layoffs, they are supposed to post layoff notices containing lists of other employees who are both excluded and included in the layoffs along with their ages. To get around this, some companies will only show certain departments or job titles so that the whole picture can’t be determined. Others will include some employees who are under age 40 in order to give the layoff an appearance of not being illegal.
If you are being laid off while less-qualified and younger employees who are at your level are not, you may have the basis to file a claim for age discrimination. Similarly, if you are chosen for a small layoff that doesn’t include younger people, you may also be able to show that you were the victim of age discrimination.
Sudden and new pattern of reprimands
After years of strong performance evaluations, some older workers suddenly start getting reprimands for things that others do or things that the company never cared about. In these types of cases, the employers may be trying to build cases to claim that workers were terminated for performance-based reasons. This may give the workers the grounds for age discrimination claims when younger workers are not reprimanded for doing the same things.
Some companies try to threaten older employees by telling them with going after their pensions if they don’t agree to retire immediately. Most people have savings plans that employers aren’t able to access, however. When there are pensions involved, employers may sometimes try to say that people will lose their vested rights to them if they are terminated for cause. People have the right to appeal if the benefits are denied. If they are not happy with what the administrators determine, they have the right to sue. If you have been threatened, it is important for you to speak with an employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler who understands how to handle cases involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which governs how pension plans and other benefits are managed.
Some companies try to get rid of workers who are older by offering packages that include incentives for them to take early retirements. It is important that you are careful if you are offered such a package. If you refuse it, the company may fire you. If the company is only terminating older workers, you may be able to file a claim for age discrimination.
Mandatory retirement age
In most cases, mandatory retirement ages are illegal. Exceptions do exist for law enforcement officers and firefighters, however. Another exception exists for executives who make policy at high levels and who are over the age of 65. They must be given a retirement benefit of a minimum of $44,000 which cannot be forfeited.
Cutting job duties
Some employers try to humiliate older workers into quitting their jobs by limiting their authority, taking away job duties and giving them low-level tasks to perform. Instead of quitting, talk to an employment lawyer at Swartz Swidler.
Isolating older workers
Another tactic that is used is isolating older workers from workplace activities. If you are excluded from work lunches or not allowed at meetings that include only younger workers, you may have a valid claim.
Denying offers for advancement and promotions
Employers are forbidden from denying promotions to people simply because they believe they might soon retire. They may try to isolate you and cut your job duties so that they can then claim that you are not qualified for the advancement or promotion. If this occurs, you should document everything that is happening and talk to an attorney at Swartz Swidler.
Some older workers have their hours drastically cut as a method of trying to force them to quit. If you can show that younger people are not having their hours cut and that there is no basis for yours to be cut, you may be able to file a claim.
When you are called old or senile or are often asked when you will retire, you may be being harassed. If this is happening, submit a complaint to your company’s human resources department or designated person according to your company’s policy. In the complaint, list all of the comments that have been made to you about your age along with any other older workers who have also been targeted. You will also want to write down the names of any witnesses. If the company does not act to correct the situation and the harassment continues, contact an employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler for help.